Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Just Another Word

It’s somewhere near Sonoma and I’m in a black Jeep sharpening an axe.
Shhhwick, the stone slides over the metal over and over again. I watch, fascinated, as the tiny scratches from the abrasive stone add up, build on each other, until the metal begins to gleam. The sharp edge emerging out of miniscule particles of ore and stone.

We pull into the lot, adjacent to rows of cut pine trees.
Behind us stretches a field of grape plants, these wineries are by far my favorite agricultural vista. The thick gnarls of the vegetation twined into the linear wood of the support, over and over again, row upon row, set against the dusty dirt.

I switched to automatic soon after I started to learn how to drive and I never looked back - all I can remember is my mother repeatedly telling me I had to find the balance between the clutch and the accelerator. The keys to the Jeep are tossed to the kid and he says to me “I got it sweetheart.” His father says he’s sixteen but he doesn’t look much older than 13. And I, a whole head taller than him, take a moment to reign in my petulant inner child before an “excuse me?!” slips out and disrupts this delicate balance. But soon I’m struggling with my body, to rip wooden pallets apart with the strength that isn’t there and the “sweetheart” nettles me. My pride, it stings.

And then, just so I won’t ever forget, I ate the best damn sandwich I’d eaten in weeks.
It had lettuce, tomato, avocado, onion, pickles, black olives, cheddar cheese, and mayo on wheat bread. To go with it there was macaroni salad and coca-cola.

There’s a Canadian goose dead on the side of the road. It looks freshly dead, a giant pinkish earthworm of its intestine spilling out underneath it’s large leathery orange feet. And I put my foot on the gooses back so it won’t roll, while Rick chops the goose head off. My own interpretation of femininity (and here I sit typing on Monday, after Sunday, a big, fat, sloppy grin on my face)

And finally, I can’t feel my toes. I’m soaked from the waist down. My muscles ache from the cold and snot runs down to my upper lip. But it’s not a wash, the process is so often more important than the product and it’s from there that I draw, after the fact.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Thank you for reminding me of the sandwich, as I said before, a memory lost is as though it never happened.